Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Activity: CW Parker Carousel Museum

Location: 320 South Esplanade, Leavenworth KS

Ages: 1 and up.

Cost: The carosel ride is $1.50 a ride. There is a museum tour at $6 for adults, children 12 and younger are $3

Hours of Operation: Thrusday, Friday, Sat--11-5, Sunday 1-5.

You've got to do this. Get off your caboose, load the kids, and take an adventure in Kansas.

Of all the unusual things that we may have done, this might rank right up there. It was certaintly one of the most fun. It's a little hard to find but luckily Leavenworth isn't that big of a town. If you get lost, just ask a local.

The carosel museum offers two things: 1. A musuem tour. You are not allowed to look around by yourself and it must be guided. As our kids are notorious for not listening and wrecking things, we opted out of this. However, it is the second thing here that you really can't miss.

You get to ride a 100 year old carosel. Sound boring? Sound mundane? Dude, try it and then come back to us.

There is a working carosel from 1913 that is open for rides during normal business days. It's like no other carosel ride that you have ever seen or been on. First, there isn't really music like you would expect. The music for the ride is supplied by some sort of machine and I'm not really sure how to describe it but I'll do my best. You remember Dick Van Dyke in Marry Poppins? Ok, that's it. It has a drum that beats as you go around and the music is contained on a metal cylinder. And it's loud. Keep that in mind.

The carousel itself is from 1913 and has been restored by the museum. All the horses are hand painted and the look is truly unique. The ride even more so.

Having children I think that it fair to say that I've been on my fair share of carousels. However, I have never actually gotten dizzy on one until I rode this monster. We were told that the carousel moves along at "8 Knots" Now, I'm not a seafaring man, I have no idea how fast a "knot" is. So allow me to translate. It's really freaking fast. Fast enough that you must hold on or you will go flying off. My son only wanted one ride on this contraption but my daughter wanted 6. It was very, very fun.

Also in this room they have another very old carousel. It dates from 1850 and is an oddity that is worth seeing. It's a hand cranked carousel, I didn't even know those things existed. It's fun to look at and wonder though who was doing the cranking on this thing.

All in all, a fun trip and worth the time to get out there. Highly recommend and the staff was gracious and accommodating.

And while you are out in Leavenworth, on a side note here, feel free to drive by the federal prison. After you do, you will be sure that THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL ANYONE IS EVERY ESCAPING THAT PLACE. It's an interesting little side trip to scare your children straight.

320 South Esplanade, in Leavenworth, KS

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